Today, Public Health Sudbury & Districts enhanced its online respiratory disease reporting by including a new Respiratory Activity Report to its COVID-19 Risk Index to showcase overall influenza activity in the region. The public can now view the COVID-19 Risk Index and Respiratory Activity Report for information on confirmed influenza cases and outbreaks, in addition to the overall COVID-19 risk level and related data, to help make informed decisions about what steps they can take to prevent the spread of disease.

“We expected a tougher fall as we continued to manage the COVID-19 pandemic and entered a difficult respiratory disease season. One of our roles and responsibilities at Public Health is to monitor health risks through surveillance and to keep people informed to help them make decisions to protect themselves,” said Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, Medical Officer of Health from Public Health Sudbury & Districts. “We continue to monitor local and provincial indicators and the improved COVID-19 Risk Index and Respiratory Activity Report allows us to share more information. Together we can make it harder for disease to spread by using a risk-based approach to inform our personal decisions,” said Dr Sutcliffe.

The Ontario Respiratory Pathogen Bulletin is used to inform the four new local levels of influenza activity. Levels are green or no activity, yellow or sporadic activity, orange or localized activity, and red or generalized activity.

While anyone can get the flu, the very young, the elderly, and people with certain medical conditions are at greater risk for complications. Public Health recommends that anyone over the age of six months get a flu shot to stay healthy and protect their community. Public Health will use the COVID-19 Risk Index and Respiratory Activity Report to share the most up-to-date recommendations to prevent the spread of disease. As community transmission and risk levels increase, our personal protective measures should also increase – going back to basics such as masking, getting a COVID-19 booster dose and staying away from others if unwell .

Public Health will update the local COVID-19 Risk Index and Respiratory Activity Report by Wednesday morning, weekly. This is a complement to many other data and reports regularly made available by Public Health to help the community understand the burden of disease in our communities. For more information about COVID-19, the flu, and steps you can take to protect yourself and others, please visit phsd.ca or call 705.522.9200 (toll-free 1.866.522.9200).

This article was last modified on November 24, 2022